Tips for choosing a care provider

Awareness of home care as an alternative to residential care homes has grown in families in the UK. Naturally, therefore, when the elderly, who are starting to need support with daily life many families more actively choose for them to remain in the comfort of their own homes, surrounded by the people and things they are familiar and happy with, as opposed to feeling compelled to relocate into residential care.

Nonetheless, the process of choosing home care services remains a major challenge for many families. Here are some top tips for choosing a home care company for you or your loved ones.

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  1. Plan ahead and do your research

This is easier said than done but the fact is that families should take more responsibility to make decisions about care for the elderly, rather than ending up forcing the issue in times of crisis. Use the internet, ask for the local authority’s social care providers list, talk to your doctor or other healthcare professional.

  1. Discuss the care and support with your loved one

Fully involve parents or couples who will be receiving the support. Often families do not achieve this, despite having the best intentions at heart. We are all much more likely to receive help when we feel in control. It also helps if you try to get an understanding of what type of care is required – which may be anything from a little per hour care for up to 24 hours of live-in care and special support to conditions such as dementia. For more information on Live in Care for Dementia Carers, visit a site like

  1. Check the Care Quality Commission (CQC) rating

The CQC is the national regulatory body for health and social care and they check all home care companies each year and publish a detailed report on their website. This includes Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement or Inadequate. Always read the CQC report for different providers.

  1. Speak with Care Management team

Once you have researched the company, call the care management team and ask any questions you have. Check that they are knowledgeable, responsive, understanding and really interested in learning about your needs or the one you love. You should also ask how they assess the needs of clients and establish a treatment plan with your family.

  1. What ongoing communication is there and is there on-call 24/7 support?

Be sure that there are methods in which the client or family can effectively contact the company to make sure that the care package will carry on meeting the client’s needs, which may change from time to time. There should be on-call professionals available 24/7 to respond to emergencies or changes in circumstances.

  1. Is the staff training effective and includes training for specific conditions such as dementia?

Find out how the staff are screened, criminal records checked, recruited and if they are fully employed by the company – some providers act as a hiring agency rather than support and take responsibility for their staff. Ask how the staff trained. Do they receive special training in the management of medications or conditions such as dementia, Parkinson’s or stroke treatment? Do they receive the right mix of theory and practical training? How are they rated as competent before they start to work in someone’s home? Do they receive regular support and supervision?